Fresh off signing his 5-year, $158 million extension back in July, it turns out Devin Booker’s contract could wind up paying him a larger sum of cash than expected.
According to a team source, Booker has multiple paths toward making more money on his deal and ultimately consuming between 27.5% and 30% of the Suns’ salary cap, if he becomes an All-NBA-caliber performer.
Currently, Booker’s new deal has him taking up 25% of the league-wide projected $109 million cap, starting at $27.25 million during the 2019-20 season. However, the exact dollar amount could jump based on the final salary cap figure.
If Booker were to make one of the three All-NBA teams, the fourth-year guard would see his 2019-20 salary jump to $29.98 million.
Taking up 30% of Phoenix’s cap sheet likely would mean Booker becoming the league’s MVP at only 22 years of age, if his contract indeed also contains an escalator for winning MVP. He would join only Derrick Rose as the youngest players to bring home the award, which would kick his maximum extension off at $32.7 million, an increase of $5.45 million compared with the original contract he inked.
The NBA created this provision, the so-called “Rose Rule,” as part of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, to reward players like Rose who are recognized at a young age.
An update to the rule in the 2016 CBA stated “team and player can agree upon various percentages of the Salary Cap (between 25% and 30%) based upon how and whether the player satisfies the criteria.”
Exact performance thresholds for Booker’s deal are unknown currently, but his deal would appear to allow him to earn more money based on those achievements each year as additional incentives.
With the Suns’ face of the franchise under contract through the 2023-24 season, Booker’s new deal could go two different directions: With the 27.5% escalator, Booker would make $173,855,000. And with the 30% escalator, which is unrealistic yet could occur if he takes another leap in his fourth season, Booker brings home $189,660,000 instead.
(Note: Numbers could fluctuate based off the rise or fall of the NBA salary cap for the 2019-20 season. This is just a projection based off the expected cap number right now, which won’t be confirmed until July 2019.)
In both scenarios, Booker drastically increases his overall contract value.
For reference, here were the guards who made the 15-man All-NBA list spanning over first, second and third team: James Harden, Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, and Victor Oladipo. All players on the three teams made the playoffs, so that will have to happen for Booker to have a realistic chance of seeing his contract rise to an even higher number than what is already the seventh-highest contract in NBA history.
I would peg either escalating scenario happening at this time as unlikely, but with Booker’s rapid growth over the past few years, it would be naive to count him out at this stage.